Wednesday, February 04, 2009

RE5 Impressions, Indy & Free Radical

So following a 1 week exclusivity period on the 360 (grr stupid grr) the demo for Resident Evil 5 (RE5) was released on the PS3, the following is my impression:

Now before I begin, I have to say that from both a friend and also reading online, there has been a degree of negativity about the game, mostly focused on the controls. However, I was not going to let this effect my judgement as I simply loved RE4 and also the prior games.

Anyway, after playing the demo for some time last night, it has to be said that while it looked fantastic, it has some issues, and I will address these below:

1) The controls
There’s no avoiding it, they just feel sluggish and when you consider that based on the demo that RE5 is more action packed than the previous games, they just don’t cut the mustard. I tried different configurations and also different speeds, but still I could not bring them up to speed. The thing is I loved RE4 and things are largely unchanged from that, so it’s a bit strange really. I think that given time I would be able to get used to them again, but it certainly does take getting used to.

2) Co-op
I’m not a big fan of co-op games, and I had some concerns about RE5 in the regard prior to the demo, and it looks like my concerns were on the ball.

Although RE4 was great, the worst thing about it were the sections where you had to worry about Ashley in addition to yourself, it looks like RE5 is going to be like this, multiplied by 10. I know that this is a little unfair, as Sheva can look after herself a lot better than Ashley in RE4, but you still have to keep an eye on her health, help her out when she needs it, save her from enemies and share your ammo and weapons with her. Quite frankly, I don’t give a damn, I just want to play the game myself and worry about myself. Resident Evil has always been a game of careful ammo preservation and this is spoilt when you either have another player, or a CPU wasting your carefully preserved ammo with wild abandon.

It also feels like you’re missing out on part of the game, as you are forced to split up and cover each other.

I’ve tried playing it with a CPU controlled character and also online with real players, but neither felt particularly satisfactory. I guess it just boils down to the fact that Resident Evil has always previously been a survival horror game where you just need to primarily look after yourself, and being forced to worry about someone else just irritates. Maybe I’m just a selfish gamer!

3) The inventory
Previously when you enter the inventory screen the game pauses allowing you to swap weapons, heal etc. Now, there is no pause in the action and you are forced to do this while you play. While this may be realistic, it certainly isn’t a quick process. For example, to simply change from a pistol to a shotgun I need to press the menu button, select the shotgun, press a button to select the shotgun, then select to equip this and press a button to equip this. All this while being attacked by 10 zombies. Switching equipment between you and Sheva makes matters even worse!

If they insisted upon realtime equipment changes, why couldn’t they include hotkeys using the D-pad, similar to something like Fallout? That would makes things much more workable.

It’s also a shame that they have taken away the way in which you were forced to fit your equipment in a case in RE4, which meant that you had to carefully decide which items to take and which weapons to purchase.

Following the demo, this has changed from a day one purchase, to a game that I will likely pick up when I have some more free time. I’m not doubting that there is a good game there, it just isn’t a priority for me any longer.

Here’s hoping that I enjoy the Killzone 2 demo which is hitting tomorrow!

I’ve been meaning to blog a bit more about Fallout 3 and will likely do so in the future. What I will say, however, is had I played the game when it was released last year, it would undoubtedly been in my top 3 games of 2008. To put it simply, it is awesome!

Read a good bit of news just yesterday, the Wii version of the new Indy game, namely Indiana Jones and the Staff of the Kings will include as an added bonus a copy of the old PC classic SCUMM adventure Indiana Jones and the Fat of Atlantis. One hell of a bonus if you ask me, which almost warrants a purchase of the new game, no matter what quality it is!

Also, on the good news department, I’ve read that Free Radical have been purchased by Crytek. This is obviously good news, while Haze certainly wasn’t as good as it should have been, I still had hope that they would sprinkle that old magic on a HD Timesplitters in the future…


Sinbad said...

Glad it's not just me that found the RE5 demo underwhelming. I'm probably going to skip it altogether unless I have nothing else to get - I'd rather buy Dead Space in this genre.

Sinbad said...

I think the co-op parts are just bad implementation though. The AI was just in the way most of the time and the super-scarce resources don't help. I really enjoyed playing GOW1/2 and Left 4 Dead in co-op, where you do need to care about your team mates, co-operate over resources, cover each other, rescue each other etc. I like that, personally - I find a shared game experience is much more fun than a lone one - provided you're actually playing with friends rather than 'randoms'. But RE5 just felt like a shoddy implementation of the mechanic - other games have already done it much better.

Bazlurgan said...

Obviously I have not played L4D so can not comment in regards to the co-op, also, I have not played enough of GOW to get an overall impression (well not in the main game anyway).

BTW, I hate to say it, but I wasn't that impressed by the Dead Space demo as well, which I also played a couple of weeks back!

Have just, however, tried the Fear 2 demo, and it has to be said, that F**king freaked me out no end!